New plan for New York City could call for fleet of electric cars

New York City might possess the largest electric municipal fleet in the country by 2025, according to a new plan announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Mark Lennihan/AP/File
One World Trade Center, center, rises above the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center, in New York (2012). New York City may soon field a large fleet of electric vehicles.

By 2025, New York City could deploy a vast fleet of electric cars, under a new plan announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

It calls for replacing large numbers of municipal vehicles with electric cars, potentially giving New York the largest electric municipal fleet in the country.

That would include around 2,000 city-owned cars used by agencies like the Parks and Recreation Department.

The electric cars would make up about half the city's non-emergency fleet, according to The New York Times (subscription required).

The fleet would likely be a mix of all-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, and extended-range or plug-in hybrid models, including the Chevrolet Volt.

A large network of charging stations will also be required to support these vehicles.

Including the cost of charging stations, the program will reportedly require an estimated $50 to $80 million investment over the next decade.

Officials hope fuel savings will offset much of the cost of getting the electric-car fleet up and running.

The program is expected to cut government-vehicle emissions 50 percent by 2025.

Electric cars would be introduced gradually, replacing older vehicles as they're retired.

But other aspects of the plan still need to be worked out.

Charging stations will require additional space in a city where real estate is always at a premium.

Some cars are also used for consecutive shifts – leaving no time to recharge – or travel long distances over the course of a shift, taxing battery range.

Deploying Chevy Volts or other cars with supplementary gasoline engines would help, but they still need to be recharged regularly in order to gain any efficiency benefits.

The program will not include police and fire vehicles, about make up about half of New York City's 11,000-unit municipal fleet.

In addition to purchasing electric cars, New York may also upgrade some garbage trucks with fuel-saving features, like engine start-stop systems.

If the city government moves forward with Mayor de Blasio's plan, New York will join other U.S. cities attempting to cut emissions from municipal vehicles.

Cities like Los Angeles and Indianapolis hope replacing large numbers of municipal vehicles with electric cars will cut emissions, as well as fuel costs.

These initiatives could get significant numbers of electric cars on the road quicker than if emphasis was placed solely on individual private vehicles.

This article first appeared at GreenCarReports.

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